Unwanted email onslaught continued in March

4 Apr 2006

Spam and virus levels continue to rise as new data shows that there was almost as much junk mail as legitimate email traffic in Ireland last month.

More than one in five emails circulating in Ireland during March contained a virus, according to the latest figures from IE Internet. The total of 21.34pc is the second highest on record since the Dublin firm began tracking this data in 2003.

The figures show three virus variants fighting for first place among the leading infections: the long established Netsky.P and Mytob.DY, first and third respectively, are in close contest with Bagle.DW which was only discovered for the first time in February.

“When we still see viruses in mass circulation which have been detected over a year ago, it’s obvious that the message is not getting though to the end user regarding keeping their systems updated,” commented Ken O’Driscoll, technical director of IE Internet.

Meanwhile, the spam rate has reached record levels again, with 48.12pc of all email traffic into Ireland classed as unsolicited junk email. “In the last number of months Ireland has been creeping closer and closer to the 50pc mark,” O’Driscoll told siliconrepublic.com. “In practical terms this means that for an average micro business we are quarantining about 100-200 spam emails going to them each week. For an average SME that rises to between 500 and 1,000-plus. Simply put, email will start to become unusable for organisations without spam-filtering solutions,” he warned.

An interesting trend is the continued reduction of the US as a source of spam. In percentage terms, last month it accounted for less than a third of all unwanted email, having long been responsible for the vast majority of it. Now other countries including South Korea and China, with 9.10pc and 5.39pc of the total respectively, appear to have taken up the slack.

By Gordon Smith